USGAA Newsletter: July 2021
UPMC becomes official Healthcare Partner of USGAA
USGAA is pleased to announce a partnership with UPMC in 2021! It is the start of an association that both USGAA and UPMC feel fits well into the mission and goals of each organization. UPMC is the leading healthcare provider in sports medicine, and has ties to top class sports organizations such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins.
“We are delighted to partner with UPMC in our mission to continue to grow Gaelic games in the United States” said USGAA chairperson Bernie Connaughton. “As UPMC continues to partner with GAA in Ireland, there is no better way to strengthen those ties with Ireland and an Irish experience than by domestically supporting the county as a whole here in the US.” continued Connaughton.
“UPMC Sports Medicine is proud to be the official health care partner of the USGAA,” said Brian Hagen, administrator and vice president of UPMC Sports Medicine and UPMC Centers for Rehab Services. “Our experts are a resource for high-quality health care, in the United States and abroad, including for injury consultation and sport-specific training. Our team provides overall health and wellness education and training for athletes and coaches so that they can better recognize the signs and symptoms of common injuries like concussions. We are excited to work with our partners at the USGAA as interest in Gaelic sports continues to grow in the U.S.”
USGAA is excited to promote UPMC as our preferred provider and feel that our association has a lot to gain through this partnership.
**Pictured above from left to right: David Tumbas (Manager Business Development), Paul Mulcaire (USGAA Youth Officer), Courtney Wrobel (Manager Sports Marketing), Doug Lucas (VP of Digital Marketing), and John Young (USGAA Vice Chairperson).**
Northeast Hosts 2021 USGAA Finals
The weekend of August 20-22 will be the return of the USGAA finals. After a year off due to the pandemic, participants are excited to descend upon the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, Massachusetts. The 38th USGAA finals are sure to bring new life into the GAA community, with 17 championship titles to compete for in Men’s and Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie over the 3 days.
The Irish Cultural Center, founded in 1989 has hosted several USGAA Finals and Continental Youth Championships. This well-maintained facility, just 20 miles outside of Boston, includes four playing fields, bar and restaurant, a playground, parking (free), and Tree Top Adventures. Gunning Field, a 5th satellite field, accessible by shuttle bus, will also be utilized.
Games begin early Friday morning and will continue thru late afternoon Sunday. Guinness, Masita, American Hurling, and other vendors will be onsite all weekend. Spectators and participant are encouraged to enjoy the day responsibly.
Months of preparation have gone into planning for the weekend. Hotels, buses, sponsors, food, entertainment, medical, trash, etc. are well underway. The Host Committee, chaired by Oliver Garry, has been working tirelessly to ensure a safe, friendly tournament for everyone.
ádh mór do chách
2021 USGAA Cup Honorees
From 2021-2025, the USGAA Jr. A Hurling Cup will be named in honor of Liam O’Brien (Chicago).
Born in Gorersbridge, Kilkenny in 1939, Liam became very active in GAA affairs shortly after his arrival in Chicago in the early 1970’s. He first joined the Harry Boland’s Hurling Club and soon became a star hurling player with the club and later served in several administrative positions with the club. He ended up his playing career with the St. Vincent’s Hurling Club before becoming very active with the Central Divisional Board of the NACB serving in different administrative positions from 1976 thru 1988. During those early years he joined a group of local GAA members in establishing a headquarters site for Gaelic Games in Chicago. That reality came true in 1985 with the opening of Chicago Gaelic Park in which Liam was elected it’s first President. He later went on to become very active in the NACB. He served in the following positions: Secretary: 1994, 1988,1989. Hon Pres. 2012.
From 2021-2025, the USGAA Junior Camogie Cup will be named in honor of Karen McCormack Ryan (Boston).
Karen grew up with a hurl and sliotar in Loughrea, Co Galway, and won an All-Ireland Camogie medal with Galway minors in 1981. After emigrating to Boston, she played Camogie with Emerald Isle and later with the Boston Shamrocks. She was a tremendous and enthusiastic organizer of Camogie around Boston, working to keep the sport alive. Later, she became a wonderful Camogie mentor who continuously encouraged and inspired young girls and boys to pick up a hurl and play. She died prematurely in Boston in 2014.
From 2021-2025, the USGAA Ladies Junior C Football Cup will be named in honor of Daniel P. O’Kennedy (Detroit).
Born in Cooraclare, Co. Clare, in 1922, Dan emigrated to Detroit in 1950. A staunch supporter of all things Irish, Dan saw Irish sport, music, dance, language and culture as part of his drive for a united Ireland. He served as President of the North American Feis Commission from 1975 to 1977 and was inducted into the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Hall of Fame in 2003. He served as President of the Detroit Padraig Pearse GAA Club from 1957-1967, Vice Chairman of the NACB 1963-1967, and NACB Honorary President 1974-1978. He died in Detroit in 1996.
From 2021-2025, the USGAA Men’s Junior C Football Cup will be named in honor of Peter Donnelly (Pittsburgh).
Born in Portglenone, Co. Antrim in 1925, Pete was a founding member of the North American County Board (now USGAA) and was elected the Board’s first Secretary at its founding convention in Philadelphia in February 1959. Over the years, he held the following positions in the NACB: Secretary: 1959- 1962, Registrar: 1963-1976, and Honorary President: 1980, 1995, 1996, 1990. He was also a founding member of the Pittsburgh Irish Center and was on the Board of the Gaelic Arts Society. Pete passed away in Pittsburgh in 1997.
The South’s Premier GAA Tournament: The Connolly Cup
After what felt like years of being sidelined, Charlotte GAA was excited to welcome athletes from across the US back to the Connolly Cup!
This year’s, 20th Annual Connolly Cup featured Men’s football, Ladies football, Hurling, Youth Blitz, and Legends Match. The event took place on July 10th at Comporium Athletic Park, in South Carolina.
Winston Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Atlanta all participated for Men’s football.
Charleston, Greenville, and Charlotte competed for the Hurling title.
Charlotte Ladies had 2 teams enter and they competed against Raleigh in the Ladies football tournament.
It was great to see everyone back celebrating this great tournament! Cheers to twenty more.
Crossbar Challenge: sponsored by Guinness
Don’t miss out on a chance to win a sponsored set of jerseys for your club at USGAA Finals!
Guinness is hosting the Annual Crossbar Challenge at 12:00 PM Sunday, August 22nd.
We can’t wait to see you there!